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Church promoting love and compassion after display of crosses were damaged


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    Portland, Oregon (KPTV) — A church in Northeast Portland wants to get the word out about its display of crosses that were damaged overnight.

The colorful crosses on the lawn of Augustana Lutheran Church are in memory of the hundreds of people who died crossing the border in 2019. There were once 500 of them that have since been shared with another church. The project helped raise more than $1,500 for water on the border.

Portland church looking for answers after display of crosses were damaged

The crosses were made by immigrants in Woodburn and painted by children and families in the Northeast Portland community.

Francisco Aguirre took refuge at the church for 81 days after coming to the U.S. from El Salvador and he’s been a big part of this effort.

“These crosses represent all those lives including kids who died trying to cross the border, but also it’s a message for community to construct a better world,” said Aguirre.

The community says they were bewildered and hurt when someone knocked the crosses over and put up mean messages overnight.

“It’s a story that has to be told. It’s not about the church, it’s about hate against immigrants. It’s about hate in this nation. It has to be overcome. Everyone has to stand up, whatever background you are we should all be standing together saying hate has no place,” said Reverend Mark Knutson.

He says the church started as an immigrant church in 1906.

“We’re all born with freedom and they’re dreaming to have that freedom and I come from that myself. Freedom that we don’t have in our countries,” said Aguirre.

Now they say this is an opportunity to come together and show compassion.

“I pray for those who would do this. I say call me up, come and confess and we’ll work with you. We’re not going to hate you. We’re going to say come on let’s change what’s wrong systematically and change hearts and souls and minds for good,” said Rev. Knutson.

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